DreamHost’s main shared hosting plan comes with popular apps like WordPress, website builder options including their own, and others like Wix or Weebly. These plans have unlimited bandwidth and disk space. And you get a full 97-day money-back guarantee to test the service out.
Their customer support is a bit limited, however.
Here’s a transparent look at how DreamHost has performed over the last 12 months.
General Info & Hosting Overview
|Our Rating:||Our Verdict: 4.0|
|SPEED:||1320 ms (April 2020 to March 2021)|
|UPTIME:||99.90% (April 2020 to March 2021)|
|SUPPORT:||Live Chat, Mail, Knowledge Base, and Forum|
|APPS:||WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Shopify, Wix, and more|
|FEATURES:||Unlimited bandwidth and storage, free SSL, free domain 1st year, automated backups|
|HOSTING PLANS:||Shared, Cloud, WordPress, VPS, and Dedicated Servers|
|SITE TRANSFER:||Free for WordPress Sites|
|PRICING:||Starting at $2.59/mo (Renews at $5.99/month)|
Pros of Using DreamHost Hosting
DreamHost comes with lots of “unlimited” features.
They have a longer-than-average 97-day refund policy to make sure you’re happy with the service before getting locked in.
Here’s a deep dive into the results from our hands-on test:
1. Month-to-Month Hosting (Cancel Anytime)
The vast majority of all 40+ web hosts we’ve reviewed will give you a 30-day refund period. That gives you a full month to test out their services before risking your prepaid amount.
A few hosts, like HostGator, will give you 45 days.
And then there’s DreamHost.
Their money-back guarantee is good for up to 97 days. That’s over a full three months to really make sure you’re happy.
DreamHost doesn’t have any hidden terms or hoops to jump through that might jeopardize your refund, either. Furthermore, you can pay month to month and cancel anytime. This is very rare in the web hosting industry.
2. Good Basic Plan Features
DreamHost’s Shared Starter option starts at only $2.59/month. But it comes with a ton of features right out of the gate.
You get one website with a free domain name, and SSL certificate included. This site can handle unlimited traffic (or bandwidth) and storage.
DreamHost has its own website builder called Remixer, but they also offer access to SquareSpace, Weebly, and Wix in their app library.
You’ll also be able to find Joomla, phpBB, Zen Cart, Drupal, Magento, Shopify, and Tumblr in there waiting for you, too.
WordPress also comes pre-installed. It’s pretty easy to set up on most servers with the one-click install option. However, the fact that it’s immediately ready when you signup is perfect for novice webmasters.
The final bit of good news on these plans is that there’s no longer a delayed verification system.
The first time we reviewed DreamHost, they required a manual verification that could postpone you being able to use the service for a few hours after signing up.
Thankfully, their customer support rep told us that they now only require extra verification steps if there’s a problem with your payment.
You should be able to hit the ground running now after signing up.
3. Unlimited Disk Space and Network Transfer Limits
DreamHost lists a lot of “unlimited” features on their pricing and plans, including disk space and bandwidth.
This means you don’t have to worry about disk storage or network transfer when your site gets popular.
There are a few caveats to this policy, but it’s mostly legit.
First and foremost, your site needs to be built properly. If it’s hogging server resources and causing issues with other sites, they might try to move you over to their private servers, instead.
DreamPress, VPS servers, and email do not fall under this unlimited policy.
Email is restricted to only 2 GB limits, while MySQL databases also need to stay under “a few GB in size.”
In other words, DreamHost’s shared servers are perfect for relatively small sites.
4. They’re Carbon Neutral (AKA Green)
You can add DreamHost among the list of web hosts who’re trying to be more environmentally conscious.
They’re going above and beyond just offsetting the carbon footprint of their servers, though.
Their data centers include “high-efficiency” cooling and processors. They’re also involved in state-level ‘clean wind’ programs to harness renewable resources.
Their offices are LEED and EnergyStar-certified, and everything from lighting to HVAC systems is also energy efficient.
5. Custom-Made Control Panel
DreamHost uses a custom-made control panel instead of the industry-standard cPanel. For cPanel fans, it can be rather a con than a pro, but it’s actually very easy to grasp and beginner-friendly.
From there you can manage your databases, email, billing, and websites. The WordPress editor is also just a click away.
6. Free WordPress Site Migration
Not so long time ago DreamHost didn’t offer free site migration. But, now, they have included a free site migration option in their WordPress and shared hosting plans. Moreover, migration is promised to be done with no downtime.
However, there’s a small catch.
Site migration is free only for WordPress sites. Meaning, if you’re using some other CMS (Wix, Weebly, etc), you’d still have to pay a one-time fee of $99.
For WordPress users, this is good news, for others not so much.
Cons of Using DreamHost Hosting
DreamHost has a lot to offer, including its handy features and free WordPress site migration.
Unfortunately, there were still a few drawbacks we ran into while testing out their services.
Here’s a complete list of the biggest cons to consider:
1. Slow Average Speed (1320 ms)
Loading time is one of the most important factors while choosing a host. Not only does page speed affect visitor bounce rate but slow loading time can also affect your overall SEO (not to mention Google rank). This, however, calculates to lost profit.
So needless to say, the faster your website loads the better.
Unfortunately, DreamHost’s 1320 ms average loading time over the past 12 months hasn’t been good. It puts them in the lower half of the hosts we’ve tested.
That’s a pity, because not a long time ago, DreamHost still managed to deliver above-average speeds, but lately, their performance has gone gradually worse.
2. Average Uptime Not The Best (99.90%)
DreamHost’s 12-month average uptime is also nothing to brag about – 99.90% with more than eight hours of downtime.
That’s bad and could potentially mean lost website visitor traffic and profit for you.
However, the good news is that DreamHost has an uptime guarantee. Like other hosts, if your monthly average falls beneath that threshold, you’ll get a credit for the cost of the service.
Most uptime guarantees we’ve seen might hover around the 99.98% mark. So these hosts believe and stand behind their services, but they’re also giving themselves a little wiggle room in case normal fluctuations hit.
DreamHost, though, guarantees 100% uptime in their Terms of Service. Keep in mind that scheduled maintenance or user errors aren’t covered in this guarantee.
However, any other DreamHost issue that messes with your site, database, email, or webmail can trigger the guarantee. You’ll get a free day’s worth of service for each hour of service interruption. The only catch is that there’s a 10% max of your “next prepaid hosting renewal fee” (so it applies in the future, as opposed to a retroactive discount or refund).
Last 12-month average uptime:
- March 2021: 99.76%
- February 2021: 99.97%
- January 2021: 100%
- December 2020: 99.99%
- November 2020: 100%
- October 2020: 100%
- September 2020: 99.78%
- August 2020: 99.62%
- July 2020: 99.84%
- June 2020: 99.98%
- May 2020: 99.93%
- April 2020: 99.98%
3. Good, but Limited Live Chat Support
DreamHost provides an obligatory knowledge base and discussion forums to help customers solve their own issues.
They also claim to offer “24/7 in-house support.” Although, our tests actually revealed the opposite.
In the lower right-hand corner of their screen is a little messaging icon. Click on it, and instead of being met with an open box, you have to select from a few pre-set answers.
In other words, they’re trying to automate the live chat process with something that mimics a phone tree (called a chatbot).
We tried bypassing these options to get a sales rep on as soon as possible. But at the time we tried, no one was available.
We found out that their live chat option is limited, being available at 5.30 AM-9.30 PM PT every day.
We had to come back later during these hours to test the process all over again. It took a few minutes for a sales rep to finally join, and they were both knowledgeable and helpful.
However, it is unfortunate that you have to jump through hoops (show up at specific hours) to get access to anyone in the first place.
DreamHost Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Here’s a quick overview of DreamHost’s Shared Hosting plans:
|Shared Starter Plan||Shared Unlimited Plan|
Renews at $5.99/mo
Renews at $10.99/mo
|Email Accounts||Costs extra ($1.67/mo)||Unlimited|
|Other Features||–||• Unlimited Subdomains & MySQL Databases
• Unlimited FTP/SFTP/Shell Users
Beyond these two options, DreamHost also offers three Managed WordPress Hosting plans.
|DreamPress Plan||DreamPress Plus Plan||DreamPress Pro Plan|
|Storage||30 GB||60 GB||120 GB|
|Other Features||–||• Unlimited CDN||• Unlimited CDN
• Priority Support
- Ease of Signup: Long and complicated sign-up process. Signup should be easier.
- Free domain: For the first year on all annual hosting plans.
- Money Back: 97-day money-back guarantee.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal, Check, Money Order, Checking Account
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: No major ones. Site migration costs extra for CMS’ that are other than WordPress.
- Upsells: A few upsells.
- Account Activation: Account activation is quick unless you have payment issues.
- Control Panel and Dashboard: Custom DreamHost control panel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): One-click installer for WordPress and other apps/CMSs.
Do We Recommend DreamHost?
Yes, we do.
Even though DreamHost’s uptime and speed have gone worse over the past year, they still showed reliable results not so long time ago, which makes us believe that current low performance is just a temporary setback.
Furthermore, you can test out DreamHost’s services for a whole 97 days and there’s also a 100% uptime guarantee that should make you feel even safer to try them out.
Moreover, their default plan limits are pretty high, offering a bunch of “unlimited” options for disk space, bandwidth, and more. Also, if you’re a WordPress user, site migration is now free for you.
On another note, the customer support was pretty limited to only certain hours throughout the week.